Can this food really taste as good as it looks?

We’ve all seen ‘Instagram food’ – you know the type: rainbow coloured grilled cheese, freak shakes, avocado flowers, all perfectly presented and racking up the likes like no one’s business.

food_01But are these dishes any good or are they all image and no substance?

Having initially captured my attention on Instagram with their pictures, I’ve had one eye on The Sweets Boutique for a few months.

On arrival, I’m dazzled by the display of cakes and chocolates just inside the door. There are beautiful treats of all shapes and sizes, from large custom-designed celebratory cakes to smaller morsels no less appealing to the eye.

And while The Sweets Boutique is known for exactly these sweet-tooth satisfying creations, it’s the à la carte menu that has my interest: Can it be as good as the cakes and desserts look?1H6A6273-2While baked items do feature on the menu – in the form of croissant sandwiches and puff pastry pizzas – there’s also a varied selection of hot and cold dishes from breakfast items, salads and soups to pastas and meat dishes.

The creamy chicken and mushroom soup is packed with flavour and has a pleasingly delicate earthy taste – I can’t help but think it  would be ideal on a cold winter’s night.

In stark contrast, the date salad is light and fresh; the sweet molasses, dates, pomegranate seeds and cantaloupe marry well with tangy sundried tomatoes and salty feta cheese. It vanishes quickly.Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 1.39.41 PMAn Oriental salmon quinoa comprises a generous fish fillet with a salty, crispy skin, perched atop a bed of quinoa salad that thrives with Arabic spices like cardamom and clove. The fish is well cooked but the accompanying lemon butter sauce is the hero of the dish, bringing everything together perfectly.

Less dainty is the huge chicken and mushroom vol-au-vent, an upmarket take on an old favourite of mine: the humble pie of the same filling. The golden puff pastry sits on the plate like a small volcano, with an eruption of creamy sauce and tender meat. It’s deliciously moreish.

Given it’s what brought us here in the first place, it would be rude not to try the sweets, wouldn’t it? A huge glass cabinet showcases the delicious bounty and I decide to go for one of the tempting éclairs.

The gold caramel one is as pretty as it is tasty, densely packed with sticky sauce that shoots out of the delicate pastry every time I take my fork to it.

Less sophisticated, but undeniably decadent and immensely enjoyable, is the chocolate fondant that’s packed full of rich, molten dark liquid that explodes from the centre once the soft sponge is broken open.

Delighted with the top-notch presentation and quality of the food, I’m happy to discover that The Sweets Boutique’s sweet and savoury options are as good as its likeable Instagram feed implies.

Need to know 

Location: Villa 79, 12th Street, Khalifa City
We say: So much more than pretty cakes
Cost: AED 280 for two
Opening times:  Daily 7.30am-midnight
Contact: 02 443 2255, facebook.com/thesweetsboutiqueuae

WORDS Colin Armstrong

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